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Feminist Evaluation

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Rob Milne

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of Feminist Evaluation

Feminist Evaluation Green Group Characteristics of Feminist Evaluation Contextualizing Feminist Evaluation contexts Case Study: Feminist Evaluation of SAEP Principles for a Feminist Evaluator We will look at Feminist Evaluation in practice Feminism Overview Into Evaluation Feminism Today Feminism Strengths and Weaknesses “..the struggle to end sexist oppression that focuses on destroying the cultural basis for such domination strengthens other liberation struggles. Individuals who fight for the eradication of sexism without struggles to end racism or classism undermine their own efforts. Individuals who fight for the eradication of racism or classism while supporting sexist oppression are helping to maintain the cultural basis of all forms of group oppression.” – bell hooks (1984, p. 40) 1800s First Wave: Western Feminism has its origins in the 1800s with movements fighting for legal rights for women, including women’s right to vote, women’s property rights, as well as an emphasis on education for girls. 1900s 1970 1960 Second Wave: A period of feminist activity between the early 1960s-late 1990s widened the range of issues to other gendered legal discriminations, but importantly to de facto inequalities such as sexuality, family relations, violence, and the workplace, as well as reproductive rights. Riding Giants: The 'Waves' of Feminism 1980 Third Wave: Has its roots in the mid 1980s and began as a critique of the shortcomings of second wave – which was seen as dominated by upper-middle class white women – and a rejection of an essentialist notion of ‘women’. A diversity of voices, such as women-of-colour, queer, and post-colonial (or ‘third-world’) challenged previously held notions and brought in new issues and perspectives. 2000 2012 Enough With the Waves! Although some maintain that we are still in the Third Wave, due to the diversity of contemporary feminist theories and movements, most consider the metaphor to have outlived its usefulness, except in the historical context. Gender Bias Basically Feminism is a diverse grouping of organizations, individuals, social movements, and ideologies that incorporate the study of women’s lived experiences and strive toward the elimination of gender-based bias, violence, oppression, and discrimination. Feminism... Includes Diverse Perspectives Marxist
Feminism Black
Feminism Liberal
Feminism Post-Colonial
Feminism Anti-Racist
Feminism Post-Structural
Feminism A fundamental principle woven in to most feminism(s) is that patriarchal gender bias exists systemically and is manifest in social structures such as schools, families, the media, business, and government, as well as in interpersonal relationships and daily lived experiences. Feminism examines the intersection of gender,
race, class, sexuality, ability, and other marginalized identities in the context of power While Not Exactly
Evaluation... Women's Safety in
Downtown East Side Vancouver The following video gives some applied context of some of the concepts covered in this presentation Now through the 'lens' of feminism
We move to... Feminist Evaluation “Feminist evaluation is based on feminist research, which in turn is based on feminist theory.”
(Podems, 2010, p. 3) 6 Central Notions of
Feminist Evaluation Sielbeck-Bowen’s, et al (2002, p.3-4) Through these
6 Notions: Feminist evaluation has a central focus on the gender inequities that lead to social injustice 1. 2. Discrimination or inequality based on gender is systemic and structural 3. Evaluation is a political activity;
The contexts in which evaluation operates are politicized;
The personal experiences, perspectives, and characteristics evaluators bring to evaluations lead to a particular stance. 5. Knowledge and values are culturally, socially, and temporally contingent. Knowledge is also filtered through the knower. 6. There are multiple ways of knowing; some ways are privileged over others. 4. Knowledge is a powerful resource that serves an explicit or implicit purpose. Knowledge should be a resource of and for the people who create, hold and share it. Feminist evaluation becomes a way of seeing; a critical eye that asks questions nonfeminists will not or do not ask in every evaluation. Thus contexts are diverse Let's look into the of Feminist Evaluation Further In two ways: 1. 2. Renu Khanna's general guide to Feminist Evaluation Katherine Hay's application of Feminist principles to different stages of the evaluation process Renu Khanna (2012, p. 264) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. Enter every evaluation situation with an attitude of respect 2. Even though an external agency may have commissioned the evaluation, give the implementing team an opportunity to articulate what they want out of it. The evaluation must be useful for the implementing team, a learning experience for each individual in the team. 3. Every individual team member’s feedback is important. Design the evaluation so as to get feedback from a maximum number of team members, and in private. Build in confidentiality and safety, especially
for the most vulnerable. 4. Do no harm. Build on what has been initiated, do not jeopardize the achievements. If you have to criticize something, give very sound reasons and evidence for doing so. Give a set of clear positive options as a substitute for what you are critiquing. 5. Give the implementing team an opportunity to give feedback on your draft report. This serves two purposes—as a safety measure for you to correct factual inaccuracies, and also to incorporate their perspectives and opinions, when different from yours. 6. While the evaluation report should be transparent and direct, it should not personalize issues or ascribe blame. The same feedback can be framed as suggestions and recommendations. 7. Make the report as educational as possible. Provide illustrative tools that the implementing team can use. 1. “These are a generic set of principles to be followed by any evaluator at every stage of the evaluation process—design, implementation, reporting of findings, and so on. A feminist and rights sensitive evaluator would ensure that voices of the less privileged are heard and that the weakest do not suffer from any adverse consequences of the evaluation” Khanna (2012, p. 265). 2. Application of Feminist Principles to different stages in the evaluation process Katherine Hay (2012) “In conversations on feminist evaluation and work done by feminists engaged in evaluation what often emerges is a ‘healthy discomfort’. The discomfort evolves from the tension created while trying to negotiate, strategize, push back and insert feminist principles into a time-bound, resource-bound, judgment oriented exercise that could be used in positive and negative ways with stakeholders who may be more or less connected with such principles, keeping in mind that the starting terms is usually developed by others” Hay (2012, p. 333) “Feminist evaluators recognize that the underlying structures and systems that create inequities cannot be programmed away within contexts that perpetrate and reinforce those systems. Multiple pathways are often sought in feminist evaluations, and used at different points in time (immediate and long term), including through policy and programming windows that open after the evaluation has ended” (Hay, 2012, p. 336) Beardsley & Miller (2002, pp. 57-70) Substance Abuse
Education Program Evaluation Context Relapse prevention program for women's substance abuse
Operated within larger substance abuse community
Served a diverse group of women of varying ethnicity and age
Program evaluation was conducted between 1991-1992 Goals of SAEP 1. 2. To utilize community and professional education to reduce the stigma and community denial associated with alcohol and drug abuse among women To reduce the relapse rates among women in recovery from addiction by educating them and the professionals serving them about gender-specific issues Program Evaluation Evaluation was designed with the intention of valuing women's voices, celebrating feminist ideals, and using shared feminist frames of reference Evaluation Questions Are we changing the system?
Are we doing what should be done?
Have we made a difference? Program Evaluation Included: 1. Determining whether professional training caused an increase in knowledge or attitudinal shifts regarding women who abuse alcohol or drugs. Pre- and Post-test surveys regarding knowledge and attitudes about women who abuse alcohol or drugs were distributed to program staff Post-test identified that participants had learned that women require different services than men to treat substance-abuse 2. Identification of educational needs of high-risk women One-time survey given to women in recovery 3. Surveying women who participated in SAEP to determine program effectiveness One-time survey given to women in recovery Learning gains reported SAEP was seen as effective by the majority of survey participants Conclusion Final Recommendations 1. 2. 3. Future professional training might examine issues related to the emotional and behavioral differences between male and female substance abusers Offering sessions at a variety of times and days throughout the week would attract the largest number of high-risk women Women dealing with alcohol/drug recovery need comprehensive programming to deal with "holistic" needs and the variety of issues that impact women and add to relapse rates Still Want More? Advantages Limitations Some "Myths" of Feminist Evaluation Feminist Evaluation is too Subjective and Focused on Social Action to be 'Evaluation' Myth 2: Myth 3: Myth 4: References Hay, K. (2012). Engendering Policies and Programmes through Feminist Evaluation: Opportunities and Insights. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 19(2) 321-340. hooks, b. (1984). Feminist Theory from Margin to Center. Brooklyn, New York: South End Press. Khanna, R. (2012). A Feminist, gender and rights perspective for evaluation of women’s health programmes. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 19(2), 259–278. Nast, H. J. (1994). Women in the Field: Critical Feminist Methodologies and Theoretical Perspectives. The Professional Geographer, 46, p. 54–66. Patton, M. Q. (2002), Feminist, yes, but is it evaluation?. New Directions for Evaluation, 96, p. 97–108. Podems, D. (2010). Feminist evaluation and gender approaches: There’s a difference? Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation, 6(14), 1–17. Sielbeck-Bowen, K. et al (2002). Exploring Feminist Evaluation: The Ground from Which We Rise. New Directions for Evaluation, 96, p. 3-8. Thank You! Myth 1: Answer: No Evaluator (or way of knowing) can be completely objective, and all evaluation is political - feminist evaluators simply make this explicit Feminist Evaluation only looks at oppression and marginalization Answer: Feminist Evaluators do not seek to exclude aspects included in more traditional evaluations, but rather attempt to broaden the approach and expand the horizon of evaluation; moreover, many would argue that more traditional evaluation has a patriarchal bias, and feminist evaluation tries to correct that Feminist Evaluation is fine, but not all the time Answer: This argument misses the point entirely: Feminist Evaluation is a worldview and approach. It always looks for the best methods for all stakeholders in order to promote social justice and empowerment with an understanding of program (and other) limitations. Using inclusive, collaborative, and critical tools, the feminist evaluator analyses (and attempts to mitigate) power and privilege in each step of the evaluation Feminist Evaluation is only for women's programs Answer: Although gender is the primary analytic category – class, race, sexual orientation, legal status, and ability are also recognized in interlocking systems of oppression, which act to marginalize individuals, groups, and voices. Moreover, patriarchal systems of oppression are pervasive (or ‘systemic’) and should be addressed in all social inquiry Beardsley, R. M., Miller, M. H. (2002), Revisioning the process: A case study in feminist program evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation, 96, p. 57–70. Money is still power: the demands of funders on both the evaluators and implementing organization can be restrictive, contradictory to feminist principles, and sometimes even the more progressive can be co-opting of actionable social justice programming. It can be more work and take longer: crunching numbers or collecting quantitative survey data can be relatively fast. Collaborative approaches can be time-consuming and exhausting; however, the results are likely to be more useful. Not everybody is a feminist (or even seeks social justice): Other members of the evaluation team (or even some of the staff/other stakeholders) can be resistant to these approaches – especially if they challenge other evaluators methods or those in positions of power. Chauvinistic positivism is easy: Even more so than other methods of constructivist epistemology, with the added social justice action-orientation, feminist evaluation has to spend more effort defending methods and rigor/validity. And . . . Patriarchy is just so resilient! R obin M ilne S W eamus olfe A B nisia astasic Attention to gender (and other oppressions) yields an analysis of program logic, participation, and outcomes that is much wider than conventional evaluation: gives the evaluator the ability to look at relationships of power and situate the program in a wider context, seeks out different information and different perspectives, and is generally more holistic. It In refusing to essentialize any stakeholder, the evaluator is able to understand a program not as a simple structure of power/powerless (or client/provider): every organization or program consists of push/pull, give/take relationships that need to be deconstructed to get the best results. Rather, Given the action-orientation of feminist evaluation, it is more likely that the recommendations actually get used: for those who would actually create program change helps assuage the great evaluation fear – that no one will actually do anything with the evaluation (and all the work will have been for nothing). Making sure the recommendations are accessible and useful Feminist evaluation re-defines evaluation: using social science methods to determine effectiveness, and measuring goal attainment, but those activities are means to a greater end—increased social justice for the oppressed, especially, but not exclusively, women. And feminist evaluation offers different ways of judging merit or worth, applying social science methods, or measuring goal attainment—collaboratively, inclusively, embracing multiple perspectives, and using evaluation processes and findings to foment change” (Patton, 2002, p. 100). "Feminist evaluation can include judging merit or worth,
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